July 2018
Volume 59, Issue 9
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2018
A new look on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease: in vivo imaging of neurodegenerative disease processes in the retina
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Lies De Groef
    Department of Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Lien Veys
    Department of Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Marjan Vandenabeele
    Department of Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Lien Andries
    Department of Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Evy Lefevere
    Department of Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Luc Bousset
    Paris-Saclay Institute of Neuroscience, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
  • Chris Van den Haute
    Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Ingeborg Stalmans
    Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
    University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Ronald Melki
    Paris-Saclay Institute of Neuroscience, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
  • Veerle Baekelandt
    Department of Neurosciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • Lieve K M Moons
    Department of Biology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science July 2018, Vol.59, 5831. doi:
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      Lies De Groef, Lien Veys, Marjan Vandenabeele, Lien Andries, Evy Lefevere, Luc Bousset, Chris Van den Haute, Ingeborg Stalmans, Ronald Melki, Veerle Baekelandt, Lieve K M Moons; A new look on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease: in vivo imaging of neurodegenerative disease processes in the retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):5831.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Purpose : Accumulating evidence suggests that, rather than trying to access information about the disease state of the CNS in the brain, one could exploit the unique properties of the eye. In vivo assessments of retinal structure, electrophysiological function, and performance of vision-driven tasks, have revealed specific signs of deterioration in Alzheimer’s (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients and animal models. In this study, we exploit the advantages of the retina as a model organ for CNS research, and put forward two objectives: (i) characterization of mouse models for the study of AD/PD in the retina; and (ii) development of an integrated workflow for in vivo examination of retinal neurodegeneration, inflammation, vascular changes, and protein aggregation.

Methods : Several AD/PD mouse models were examined, including an AAV vector-mediated alpha-synuclein (aSYN) overexpression model and multiple transgenic AD and PD mouse lines. Longitudinal, non-invasive follow-up of disease progression in the retina was performed, by in vivo imaging with optical coherence tomography (OCT), confocal laser scanning ophthalmoscopy (cSLO) and vision-guided behavior tests (including visual acuity and contrast sensitivity). These assays were complemented with biomolecuar techniques and (immuno)histological stainings for relevant disease processes and specific retinal cell markers.

Results : Different retinal manifestations and diverging time courses of disease were detected in the AD/PD mouse models under study. Overall, our results indicate that (i) cSLO can be used to study cell death, inflammation, vasculature and protein aggregation at single-cell resolution; (ii) retinal neurodegeneration can be quantified via OCT; and (iii) these disease manifestations can be correlated to functional deficits.

Conclusions : By combining AD/PD models with a workflow for longitudinal in vivo follow-up of disease - comprising of methods and end points that can be readily transferred to the clinic - we can provide valuable research tools (i) to gather new insights into the disease mechanisms of AD/PD, (ii) to perform preclinical drug development, and (iii) to reduce the number of animals needed for AD/PD research.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.

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